01/18/2010 12:00AM

She Be Wild proves doubters wrong

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
She Be Wild (right) wins the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

This spring, She Be Wild was a filly who seemingly no one wanted. Entered in the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring 2-year-olds in training sale, she failed to bring her reserve when bidding stalled at $19,000 on the daughter of untested sire Offlee Wild.

Now, just about every owner in the country would love to have her following a juvenile campaign in which she won 4 of 5 starts, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

That campaign led to her being crowned as champion 2-year-old filly of 2009 on Monday night. Twenty-three of the previous 26 winners of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies have now become Eclipse Award winners.

Not bad for a filly who was dismissed at the sale because of her small size by all but her breeders and owners, Nancy and Michael Mazzoni, who were on the verge of leaving racing after numerous disappointments in the game.

And now they feel fortunate they did not sell her, as does trainer Wayne Catalano, who gained the opportunity to train her.

She Be Wild's victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies was Catalano's second winner in the race, following Dreaming of Anna's triumph in the 2006 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs.

Although the Breeders' Cup was the year's crowning achievement for She Be Wild, she proved special throughout 2009. She showed promise immediately, when she won at first asking in a maiden $40,000 race by 7 1/4 lengths May 30 at Arlington.

She remained there through the summer, gradually stretching out in distance. A win in the seven-furlong Top Flight Stakes followed and was capped by a 5 1/4-length score in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie, the premier race for 2-year-old fillies in Illinois every year.

Sent to Keeneland next for the Grade 1 Aclibiades on Oct. 9, she finally lost, although she proved game in defeat. In her first start around two turns, she surged to the lead in early stretch before being run down in the closing yards by Negligee. She Be Wild finished second, beaten a half-length.

With that experience behind her, she was primed for her best in the Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita, and she capitalized under a ground-saving ride from Julien Leparoux. While others in the field lost ground around the turn, she stayed close to the inside, right behind the leaders. Then, when an opening appeared in the stretch, she shot through, outfinishing Beautician and Blind Luck.

"I took a shot, and I guess it worked," Leparoux said.

She Be Wild, out of the Seeking the Gold mare Trappings, improved her earnings to more than $1.3 million with the victory. In winning the Juvenile Fillies, she raced 1 1/16 miles on Pro-Ride in 1:43.82, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 88, one of four straight Beyers in the 80s she ran to finish her juvenile season.

In contrast to Dreaming of Anna, who after her Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies victory raced mostly on turf, Catalano envisions She Be Wild excelling on dirt.

"I have no concern about her running on the dirt, because she has a dirt pedigree and she won on Polytrack," he said,

If that's the case, the Mazzonis may have more than a likely champion 2-year-old filly - a Kentucky Oaks contender, too.

:: THE DEBATE CONTINUES: